Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Age: search for 'Ismael Ax' sparks web frenzy

Australia's The Age reports on the flood of searches for information on 'Ismael Ax':

All at once, the world went searching for the meaning of "Ismail Ax"... Those two words, written in red ink on one arm of Cho Seung Hui, the 23-year-old Virginia Tech student suspected of the campus shooting spree, set off a massive internet hunt by the public for clues to what might have motivated the nation's worst mass killings.

Almost as soon as the Chicago Tribune's website reported that detail, which was then picked up by news organisations around the world, the blogosphere filled with theories about the possible meaning of "Ismail Ax." Hundreds of bloggers speculated on a link to Islam or to literature; thousands offered their opinions and millions read the commentaries, according to

For a couple of hours, a recent post on this site ranked #1 on Google's search results for the term.

The resulting flood of traffic, which I could never have predicted, was significant (especially for an eighth-tier blog like this one):

We're still a long way from the daily record -- which occurred after a story made the front-page on Digg -- of 18,000 visitors. But it certainly highlights the firehose-like power of Google's search results.

No comments: